Teaching Students About David Miller


David Miller is a renowned figure in the field of political philosophy and social justice, whose ideas and theories have significantly influenced contemporary discussions on these topics. As an educator, incorporating David Miller’s thoughts into your curriculum can provide your students with valuable insights and a deeper understanding of social issues. In this article, we will explore the best approaches to teach students about David Miller and his contributions to political philosophy.

1. Introduce David Miller’s Background

Begin by providing an overview of David Miller’s academic background, achievements, and notable works. Consider discussing his educational history and tenure at institutions such as the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics. Highlight some of his most influential publications, such as “Social Justice” (1976), “Market, State, and Community” (1989), and “National Responsibility and Global Justice” (2007).

2. Discuss Miller’s Concept of Social Justice

Miller is known for his distinctive views on social justice that emphasize the role of nationality and cultural ties. Introduce your students to this perspective by discussing how Miller opposes doctrines that solely base claims of social justice on universal principles. Explain that in his view, social justice must also encompass the shared values and responsibilities within specific communities.

3. Explore Miller’s Idea of Nationality

A key concept in Miller’s work is nationality or national identity. Dedicate a session to exploring its importance in his theory of social justice. Discuss how he believes that having a shared national identity creates a bond among individuals which forms the basis for duties or obligations to one another.

4. Delve into Miller’s Approach to Distributive Justice

Another important aspect of Miller’s work is his unique perspective on distributive justice, which focuses on ensuring fair distribution among members of a community based on their individual contributions, needs, and circumstances. Encourage your students to analyze how this concept differs from other theories of distributive justice, such as those which prioritize equality or utility.

5. Analyze Miller’s Views on Global Justice

It’s essential to address Miller’s thoughts on global justice, given that his approach to social justice often emphasizes the importance of national and cultural borders. By examining his work “National Responsibility and Global Justice,” students can investigate and evaluate Miller’s belief that wealthier nations should provide aid to poorer countries, though he still maintains that the scope of their obligation is limited.

6. Encourage Critical Thinking and Discussion

Throughout the teaching process, encourage your students to question, critique, and engage with the ideas presented. Facilitate classroom discussions that allow them to share their perspectives on Miller’s theories and compare them with alternative philosophical viewpoints.

7. Explore Connections to Current Events

To help students relate Miller’s theories to real-world situations, consider discussing contemporary issues through the lens of his philosophy. For example, analyze global phenomena such as immigration, wealth disparities, and climate change in line with Miller’s perspectives on social and global justice.


Teaching students about David Miller offers them an opportunity to explore a unique approach to political philosophy centered around nationality and community-oriented values. By using the strategies presented in this article, you can give your students a comprehensive understanding of his theories while encouraging critical thinking and engagement with current global issues.

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